The effects of propranolol (10 mg/kg) on systolic blood pressure (SBP), resting and exercising heart rates (HR), and body weight (BW) were examined in 11-week swimtrained spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. In both species, SBP was significantly reduced by either propranolol or training, but the reduction was greater with propranolol than with training. However, when propranolol was administered to rats during training, their independent beneficial effects on SBP were annulled. HR was modified slightly by propranolol and training, but they both decreased BW. The mechanism of propranolol action on BW is not clear.
Maximum oxygen uptake (Vo2 Max), relative heart weight (RHW), and absolute heart weight (AHW) were measured after 11 weeks of training. In both SHR and WKY rats, Vo2 Max was elevated by exercise training; moreover, Vo2 Max was greatest among those receiving propranolol while training. However, the combined effects of propranolol and training produced a significant reduction of AHW in SHR. The RHW was increased by training, but it was decreased by propranolol. SHR rats were more sensitive to the effects of training and propranolol than WKY rats.
In humans, several observations have been reported on the attenuation of certain exercise-induced cardiovascular and metabolic changes by beta-adrenergic blocking agents. Our results obtained with rats confirm some of those observations. It would seem that the hypertensive strain of rats could serve as a model for the study of attenuation mechanisms by beta-adrenergic blockers.
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